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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

A LOOK AT THE ROCK: Glass and I agree: Keep Lynch

A blanket of snow will soon cover Memorial Stadium and spring practice is months away. But let’s not say the turf should be converted into a hockey rink because the Hoosiers failed to reach a second-consecutive bowl game.

Even after a downtrodden and meager attendance 2008 season, IU football is and will always be at or near the top of the list of revenue-generating sports on campus – the other 21 varsity teams depend on the program’s financial success.

So when the Hoosiers struggled through the 2008 season, the fans took it out on the coach rather than the program as a whole.

To lose nine out of 12 games is one thing, but to keep replacing coaches every two to three seasons is another. It’s absurd and inconsiderate to say the least, and a lack of continuity is a recipe for disaster.

Somehow, some way, IU must convince an agitated fan base that 2008 was a fluke. Somehow, some way, reality has to set in that IU coach Bill Lynch is here to stay.

And on that note, I commend incoming IU Athletics Director Fred Glass for speaking up about Lynch’s future despite not wearing his AD hat until Jan. 2, 2009.

One might ask, “Why did Glass feel obliged to confront the coaching skepticism before outgoing AD Rick Greenspan cleans out his Assembly Hall office?”

“We had information that the transition of athletics director was being used against the program to create some doubt in some of the minds of our potential recruits,” Glass said in an interview with the Indiana Daily Student. “It’s awkward, obviously, in the transition since I’m not actually the athletics director yet, and Rick Greenspan is still there. But it seemed to me out of the three of us (Glass, Greenspan and Lynch), I could be the only one who can speak definitely about (Lynch’s) future.”

Thank goodness he did.

No, Lynch is not as charismatic and self-promoting as former IU coach Terry Hoeppner. You don’t see him at your fraternity house or on a beat-up billboard while driving down State Route 37.

He’s better off staying behind closed doors with his coaching staff, reconfiguring the Hoosiers’ formations and schemes anyway. After all, Glass said improvement is a must.  

“I’m a big believer in ‘you are what you are,’ and if you’re 3-9, you’re 3-9,” Glass said. “But having said that, the aspirations for the football program at Indiana University are to win Big Ten championships. I’m not satisfied being at the bottom of the pack. I’m not satisfied being in the middle of the pack. I want to win Big Ten championships, and that’s the direction we’re going to take this program.”

Lynch’s current contract runs through July 1, 2012. He is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big Ten, and some say to get rid of Lynch because he’s inexpensive compared to other FBS coaches.

Folks, the athletics department cannot afford to pay for a coach’s golf game. Keep in mind, IU has the second-lowest athletic budget in the Big Ten – Northwestern is last.

Glass even said it himself: “I do think contracts need to mean something, and that was a very important piece of my analysis. I hope Coach Lynch is successful through his current contract and beyond. At the same time, I also expect improvement, and Coach Lynch does as well.”

Glass exemplified what “true” leadership encompasses – taking a bold stance on a highly controversial issue.

And for that Mr. Glass, I thank you. I hope your message knocks some sense into the critics out there.

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